One Box to Rule Them All

When I think about how many boxes I have connected to my home theatre system, I feel a little ridiculous. There’s the Tivo HD for my cable and time-shifting needs, the Sling Box Pro HD for my location-shifting needs, the Apple T.V. for easy access to iTunes content, and the Blu-ray player for BD’s and DVD’s. But the really sad thing is that even with all of these different boxes and their bundled services, I still don’t feel that I have the kind of control that I want over my media.


Best iPhone/iPod Touch Apps

iphone-app-store2Apple recently passed the 10,000 apps downloaded from the App Store, which led them to the decision that releasing the stats about the most downloaded apps is a good idea. The apps are split up into categories including Top Paid Apps, Top Free Apps, Top Games (free and paid), Top Social Networking Apps, and many more. You can read the full breakdown here.

I was not really surprised by any of the apps on the list, I already had most of them, which leads me to the topic I want to write about, my apps.

I am not going to write about the useless and ridiculous apps that are on my iPod like Bubble Snap or istethescope, not to in any way detract from the huge amount of entertainment they provide, but I will focus more on the great utilities and games that I think you will enjoy. So let’s get started.

Scramboni: I just found this game last night and I have to say this game is almost as addictive as Labyrinth. It is definitely more sophisticated. It basically presents you with scrambled words that you need to unscramble in 30 seconds. Your contenders are people from all around the globe so you need Web access (Wifi, Edge, or 3G) to play. Based on the level you choose, you are presented with words of different levels of difficulty and receive points accordingly. Great game. I give it a 4/5.


AppVee: A very useful app that gives you information on new and popular apps in the app store. Its added value is that it provides a video presentation of each app. I am actually surprised Apple did not implement this in the App Store. I actually found Scramboni using AppVee, so just for that, it deserves a 5/5.

Google Mobile App: I am very disappointed in this app. It generated lots of hype and it just does not do it for me. It might have if the voice search feature was implemented in the iPod Touch, but Google disabled it for some odd reason. Other than that, I would appreciate it if anyone would tell me why one would use this app as opposed to using the built in Google search bar in Safari. I would say 2/5, unless I am missing something.

cooliris: I am not sure what I think of this app yet. I mean it is a very cool concept to display news items as a 3D wall of thumbnails.  I have yet to find a use for this app, I guess if you are a news enthusiast, you can just scroll through the wall and read news items. OK, I guess it is pretty cool. There is also a search function that allows you to search various sites and the app displays the results as thumbnails on the wall. For me this app gets a 3/5.


Joost: Joost was one of those companies that when it came out, people thought was going to be the next huge thing. Then came Hulu, which outdid Joost in every category and really did become the next big thing. Until now, that is. Joost’s iPhone app basically gives you TV service and access to many many channels, categories, and specific videos on your iPhone and iPod Touch. There are 46,000 videos on Joost now and the inventory is only getting bigger. The app is a great idea, no question about that, the only problem is, there are still a few quirks that need to be worked out. I give it a 4/5.


Remote: A very cool app made by this small company called Apple inc. This app allows you to control your iTunes library and Apple TV from your iPhone or iPod Touch. Yea, that is pretty much it, but I have to admit, it does it really well, and really impressed me. I give it a 4/5, after all, I cannot really think why someone would need to do this. OK the Apple TV I get, but who has an Apple TV?

I am going to conclude this post with one app that really blew my mind, and I would very much appreciate if someone explained to me how this app works.

midomi: This app is simply amazing. You can search  for any song by typing the name of a song, at which point you are presented with a few options. After you choose the desired song, you can hear a preview of the song, and then quickly download it from iTunes. No big deal, right? Wait! You can also say the name of the song and the same thing happens, but here is the cool part. Hum a part of the song into your mic and it will detect the melody and give you the results. Gets even cooler, simply put your mic near a radio or any audio output of the desired song and it will tell you the song details. Every search, whether typed, hummed, spoken, or grabbed gives you all the information about the song and allows you to quickly download it to iTunes. The app works flawlessly and is one of the most innovative apps I have used so far. This is the kinda app that I would pay for, if it wasn’t free that is. I give this app a 5/5, and if I could, I would give it a 6/5. Check out the video below, it is amazing.


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Genius – Not So Smart

Apple’s main theme in this past event was music. They launched a new service called Genius, in which with the click of a button you get recommendations to similar songs, and the iPod or iTunes automatically populates a playlist inside your own music collection. The request goes to some fancy algorithm cloud, and it is supposed to all be anonymous. What they don’t tell you is that you need to open an iTunes account in order to use the service. In order to open an iTunes account, you need to provide a US billing address and credit card number.

It’s just so backwards that they claim that Genius is anonymous, but they still need our private details. Ok so they don’t gather info on our song preferences, but rather all the private information that they can easily get from the credit card companies. Bad concept and dumb feature. I’m not going to use Genius.


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